There’s nothing better than getting away for a few days just to escape the buzz of everyday life and find time to rest, recharge and reconnect.
A few days away can make a world of difference mentally and physically but, truth is, we often don’t have a whole lot of time to spare. For most of us, taking off for a week is a dream come true, but not always possible.
Never fear! It turns out there are some amazing staycations to be had close to Brisbane, offering the perfect weekend escape without breaking the budget or depleting annual leave.
Here are three great staycation spots to put on your list.
Mercure Clear Mountain Lodge
This incredibly peaceful spot is nestled comfortably in the mountains, 40 minutes drive north of Brisbane CBD. It doesn’t take long to get to Clear Mountain Lodge, but you feel a million miles away from it all, given the serene location and fresh mountain air. The views are second to none, offering a sweeping panorama of the Glasshouse Mountains, Lake Samsonvale, Brisbane CBD and even out to the sand dunes of Moreton Bay and the surrounding islands.
The tranquil setting offers many opportunities to truly relax and unwind. Spend a few hours at Stephanie’s Mountain Spa being pampered with a full body massage, facial or treated to one of their indulgent packages. Float out of Stephanie’s and over to Mandy’s on the Mountain, the fantastic on-site restaurant. Here, you’ll find an impressive menu offering fresh, seasonal dishes like braised pork belly with apple and celeriac crumble and wilted spinach serviced with a marsala and fig jus.
At the end of the day, with a belly full of food, retire to one of the recently refurbished deluxe or privilege rooms. Spacious and comfortable, the rooms have a modern finish and whole lot of coziness to them. You’ll find yourself sinking into the large bed, all the stress of the week melting away. Just remember to turn your alarm off so you can sleep in and make the most of it.
Mercure Gold Coast
While the Gold Coast can conjure up images of the Cavill Avenue party scene, it also plays host to relaxing resorts like Mercure Gold Coast. A weekend escape spent at the resort will see you enjoying the best the Gold Coast has to offer, without getting caught up in the busy streets of Surfer’s Paradise. Golf lovers can tee off at one of the many golf courses in the surrounding area, like Palm Meadows, Lakelands and Palmer Colonial. Newbies can kick off their golf career at The Golf School, just across the road, with a lesson from a golf pro that’ll having you smacking balls down the fairway in no time.
Grab a bite to eat at the on-site restaurant, where head chef Darren Clements shows off his Asian and arabic inspired menu.
Be sure to try the free-range chicken and cashew nut curry served with turmeric rice, coriander chutney and a crispy pappadum. Finish off your meal with their incredible dark chocolate brownie, served with popcorn, burnt caramel gelato and the most indulgent cherry ripe ganache.
Another great way to see the best views of the Gold Coast are to tackle the SkyPoint Climb at Q1. Experience the amazing 360 degree views of the famous coastline and Gold Coast hinterland from 270 metres above sea level, hanging off the tip-top of Q1! Opt for the twilight climb and enjoy the golden sunset over the city below before watching it come alive with twinkling lights as the sun disappears over the horizon. If this sounds a bit too daring, consider a hot air balloon ride instead. Departing from Mercure Gold Coast, Balloon Aloft offer one-hour scenic flights that’ll have you gently gliding over the earth below, marvelling at mountains and spotting the coastline.
For a stay much closer to home, consider a night spent right here in Brisbane’s CBD. Mercure Brisbane offers the perfect base to rediscover our home town and explore the new restaurants, bars and cafes popping up all over the place. Start your day off with a well-deserved sleep-in followed by an abundant breakfast at the hotel’s buffet.
Next, hit the streets of Brisbane by joining a free Brisbane Greeters walking tour. While it may feel like we know these streets like the back of our hands, truth is there are a lot of things to learn and discover about Brisbane, like hidden pieces of art tucked down laneways or in plain sight, like the tops of lamp posts on Adelaide Street. It’s a chance to see the city as a tourist, shown around by a passionate local.
As the sun sets, head to nearby Burnett Lane for evening drinks at Super Whatnot, working your way through their fabulous cocktail and wine menus. Once you’re done, duck into SurveyCo for an unforgettable dinner in a gorgeous setting. Try the perfectly cooked lamb rack served with smoked eggplant, grains and broccoli. If going out for dinner sounds like too much work, stay in and feast at on-site restaurant, MRepublic. Be sure to sample the pan fried barramundi served with kipfler potatoes tossed with sour cream and chives, steamed green beans and basil beurre blanc sauce.
Disclaimer: The author was a guest of Mercure Hotels.